Toxic chemicals scare at Berlin US consulate

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13 Sep, 2012 Updated Thu 13 Sep 2012 15:22 CEST
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The US consulate in Berlin was partially evacuated on Thursday after three staff members said they felt ill and feared a visitor had released a noxious chemical. Police and hazardous chemicals teams were called in but found nothing.

“No dangerous chemicals were found,” Carsten Muller, spokesman for Berlin police told The Local. The building concerned was not the flagship embassy in the centre of the city, but the consulate in the Dahlem suburb.

“The passport section was evacuated at around midday after a member of staff said she suddenly felt ill. A man had come in for his 11:10am appointment and after dealing with his passport, the woman said she felt ill. Then two others in the same section said they also felt ill.

“By around midday that part of the consulate was evacuated and the relevant colleagues were called in.”

The alarming pictures of hazmat-clad officials entering the consulate will only have added to concern among American diplomats already reeling from attacks on embassies in three countries.

Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya was killed along with three others at the embassy on Wednesday, while the embassy in Cairo was also attacked. And on Thursday the US embassy in Yemen was stormed, with a crowd breaking through the outer fence, but not into the building itself.

Muller said security was high at the embassy and the consulate in Berlin, regardless of events elsewhere.

“We react very quickly to the kind of alerts we had today, and with full security,” he said.

By about 2pm the alert was declared over and evacuated staff were allowed to return to work.

The Local/hc

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2012/09/13 15:22

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